Thousands of kilograms of Zim gold being smuggled into South Africa, says minister

Zimbabwe is losing thousands of kilograms of gold through smuggling into neighbouring South Africa, a senior Zimbabwe government official said this week.

The precious metal is one of Zimbabwe's biggest export earners. But production is being hampered by a lack of capital investment and repeated power cuts. Miners are also not happy with an arrangements that sees them being paid partly in foreign currency and partly in local Zimbabwe dollars. 

According to Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube, this has resulted in close to 34 tonnes of gold being smuggled to South Africa. 

He said this week that production in the country's gold sector was growing, but deliveries to the its sole buyer, Fidelity Printers and Refiners, were falling. 

“When we spoke to our colleagues in South Africa [...], we saw a jewellery shop [and] they said that’s all your gold from Zimbabwe. This is in Cape Town, but it’s not sitting in any of our statistics in Zimbabwe,” Ncube said.  

In his 2020 national budget presented Thursday, Ncube reiterated that leakages have been depriving the country of foreign currency earnings. He said the state would tighten laws to have the gold refined in Zimbabwe. 

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